The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has marked another chapter in the country’s turbulent history. The military triumph, while unexpected and fragile, is the easy part of the battle for Afghanistan. The group faces a more formidable challenge: the battle for the hearts and minds of the people. The Taliban must now demonstrate that they have learned from history and are willing and able to govern in a way that garners legitimacy at home and abroad. A decentralized and inclusive political system, sound governance, and building upon the progress of the last 20 years are vital to avert regression into the country’s dark and violent past. As history has shown, such backsliding will not merely afflict Afghans.